Listening sparrows

This morning, when I was walking toward bus stop 5 minutes from my appartment, I saw sparrows in a bush, chirping and yelling at each other. I walked less than a meter from them but it seemed they didn`t pay attention to me at all πŸ˜† Then I remembered something my grandpa told me few yers ago. It was spring and on one nice and sunny morning he took a short walk to nearby open market to buy some fruit and vegetables. On his way back he saw a flock of sparrows, dustbathing and chirping; just a small flock being happy for a nice sunny day. He stood there for a while then left. I was at home, talking to my grandma in a kitchen, when he arrived. He left his walking stick behind a chair, put plastic bags on a table, looked at both of us and said:
"I`ve heard sparrows today. They were playing in a dust and I stood there, watching and listening to them." We both looked at him, suddenly quiet. He smiled, shrugged and left to his room.
Hold on. Story is not over yet πŸ™‚
Back in 1944. my grandpa joined partisans who just set free Belgrade and Zemun, along with Russian Red Army, pushing German army more to the west. He was only 15 years old, and being small and tiny, they held him as a runner for a local headquarter.
One day in 1945. grandpa and his best friend friend Ivan were riding bicycles down the slope from a part of Zemun called Kalvarija, down to the crossroad of Bezanijska and Prilaz Marina streets. It was very steep slope. They were going down very fast and suddenly a chain on my grandpa`s bicycle broke and he couldn`t stop. With a full speed he ended up punching at a wall of a nearby house… He hit it with his head and lost his conscience. Luckily there were some soldiers who put him in a blanket and carried to a hospital.
He was lucky to survive without breaking any bone except those tiny bones in his middle ears. But he didn`t lost hearing at once. His left ear was more damaged than the right; but he could hear; not as good as before, but he was not completely deaf. Years passed and his hearing was worse and worse, at one point he completely lost it on a left ear and needed to have hearing aid for a right one. He still have some small gadget to help him hear but I think his left ear lost even those 2 percents of hearing doctors estimated more than 10 years ago….
But sometimes, a miracle happens. Somehow, bones inside his ear make some kind of contact and he can hear, even without aid. It usually lasts only for a few minutes and happened maybe few times during last 30 years. You can imagine how happy he was to hear those sparrows….


This is a photo of my grandpa and his best friend Ivan, in 1945. My grandpa is holding British Lanchester submachine gun. Unfortunately, he lost a contact with his friend; after demobilisation, his friend Ivan returned to his home village Progar; last info my grandpa got from one of Ivan`s cousins was that he went down to Macedonia. It was decades ago.

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45 Responses to Listening sparrows

  1. Spaggyj says:

    A really touching story indeed. Your family has so much history.

  2. SittingFox says:

    That's a beautiful story, Darko πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing it. Is this part of the reason you like sparrows so much?

  3. gdare says:

    San, spring is coming with a giant steps here. Or this is how I feel it πŸ˜† I hope a March will not deny me :left: Thanks :)Adele, yes it is. But mostly because sparrows are our domestic birds, probably the biggest bird community around. When I was a kid I used to feed them with grinded corn during cold and snowy winters. Our sparrows were always fat and they loved me :happy: πŸ˜€

  4. sanshan says:

    That's a great story. πŸ™‚ (btw the sparrows are all chirping and looking for mates here too. Must be spring!)

  5. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Guess when I found it out… πŸ™‚

  6. LorenzoCelsi says:

    You know if you wear camouflage clothing and hat and you stand still often birds rest on you without recognizing you aren't a stone or a tree?

  7. gdare says:

    Lorenzo, I never tried that but it sounds like a good idea. Have to try it once :yes:

  8. gdare says:


  9. gdare says:

    Originally posted by Spaggyj:

    or perhaps it's your talent for telling a story.

    Thank you. Well, I try to do my best πŸ™‚

  10. gdare says:

    Thank you, flori-jane. I dobrodoΕ‘la na moj blog πŸ™‚

  11. gdare says:

    Kimmie, I think every family has it. Just need to listen and remember. And wait to be old enough to collect a lot of them πŸ˜€

  12. Spaggyj says:

    I'm not so sure about every family having a lot… But we've all got some. Some are interesting to others, some are not. Yours are, or perhaps it's your talent for telling a story.

  13. PainterWoman says:

    Great story Darko. It's a wonder your grandpa didn't crack his skull. And very odd that only the tiny bones in his ear were broken. Sparrows are probably my favorite bird too and often throw out any stale bread to them. Sometimes the pieces are too big when one tries to fly away and he drops it. Then another one grabs it, then drops it. They go on and on for several minutes. Then there will be one bossy one who spends all his time chasing all the others away instead of just eating. It's so funny to watch them.

  14. Suntana says:

    WHAT? Your grandpa was Ffff Ffffff 15 years old when he was in the army? :yikes: Or am I misunderstanding just exactly what these "partisans" were that he joined? Both your grandpa and Ivan look way young in that photo.

  15. qlue says:

    The whole world was at war back then. :left:.I guess, if you lived in Europe back then you became part of the war effort! Didn't really matter how old you were. :awww:.:up:. Great story Darko!. Sometimes we take things for granted, not realising how happy the sound of sparrows can make an old man! :love:.

  16. Dacotah says:

    Good post Darko. πŸ™‚

  17. Stardancer says:

    Wonderful story, Darko. It's great that you are making an effort to document your grandfather's life like you are. There is nothing more important than family.:up::smile:

  18. L2D2 says:

    I loved this story Dare. I always regretted that all my grandparents died before I was born, or else died when I was too young to retain a memory of them. What a privilege to have yours with you. And the stories they can tell! I can imagine how wonderful it was for that serendipitous moment to happen to allow him to hear the Sparrows chirping and singing. I would have listened for as long as possible, also.

  19. thaodp says:

    a great story, Darko.

  20. ellinidata says:

    this is a sweet post Darko.Please give a hug to your grandpa from me,I knew right away who he was in the picture, you have his eyes.Sparrows are survivors and so are Serbians… I can see why they have a soft place in your heart on the double. Grandpas story is very touching!

  21. gdare says:

    Pam, my grandpa is only about 1,65m – 5,4 feet tall. I can imagine how small he was when he was 15. Being that light probably saved him from more serious injury :up:Carlos, as Aadil said, it was a war and when a freedom was about to be reached, everybody wanted to participate. Of course, back then there was no UN convention about rights of children who would prevent it; so everyone could join. It was on a local military leader`s not to put them in a first line of fire.Aadil, those small pleasures are sometimes everything old people have :)Star, family is everything. As one of my friends once mentioned "strong family makes strong country" :)Carol, thanks :)Linda, one miss the most what he/she don`t have. Missing one of the senses makes life completely different. What we have for granted is unimaginable for them.I would have listened to them too. Especially knowing that it might be the last time :)Kiran, thank you :)Angeliki, when I was writing this post, I remebered something I posted few months ago: is my grandpa but the feeling is the same :)Mit, thank you πŸ™‚

  22. studio41 says:

    "You can imagine how happy he was to hear those sparrows…." what a beautiful story

  23. Dacotah says:

    You are welcome Darko. πŸ™‚

  24. ellinidata says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    He is my grandpa but the feeling is the same

    πŸ™‚ I was sure of it :heart:

  25. gdare says:

    Jill, thanks :)Carol :happy:

  26. Dacotah says:


  27. edwardpiercy says:

    Great story, Darko.I talk about some runners in one of my stories, ones who went through the lines out of Leningrad. A dangerous job. And at 15, wow, that's an age when boys should be nervously looking at the girls and doing algebra homework. Not walking around with a machine gun. Terrible times, then everything is changed.I hope he hears the sparrows again.

  28. gdare says:

    Ed, luckily he was behind front line and didn`t have to take risks. I think he was only once on a first line of fire when Luftwaffe attacked them with bombs. He said it was terrible :left:

  29. BabyJay99 says:

    :up: πŸ˜‰

  30. gdare says:


  31. MirabelaTM says:

    Beautiful story Darko :up: I enjoyed reading. Your grandpa looks very proud on the photo.

  32. gdare says:

    You bet he was proud, Mira. It was not an everyday thing to make a photograph back then. Plus, having that submachine gun made him look like a "real" soldier – even though he was a real soldier πŸ˜€

  33. MirabelaTM says:

    You are right Darko πŸ™‚ I have a photo of my great-grandfather when he was a soldier. Back then when our country was named The Kingdom of Yugoslavia. I think these family photos are precious to save.

  34. gdare says:

    Yes. Especially when there are only few left. The oldes one I have is from 1928. It shows my grandma in age of 2 and her parents and older brother (who died in age of 5 I think).

  35. gdare says:

    πŸ˜† You are right about Facebook :PBut my grandpa is not sure if his friend is even alive. He never saw him since the war was over but they were the best friends…

  36. clean says:

    Excellent post, full of history and emotion. :up: I wonder, could there be some sort of reunion site for the army (or even some sort of offline organization πŸ˜† ). Your grandfather's friend might have given such a place his current details, even if he's still in Macedonia. Heck, these days he might even be on Facebook (or his family, perhaps).

  37. L2D2 says:

    Why don't you do some sleuthing, Dare, and see what you can find out about him?

  38. gdare says:

    Ok, I will see what I can do :up:

  39. sanshan says:

    chirp chirp

  40. L2D2 says:

    That could make your grandpa sad if you found that he is deceased, but it could make him very happy if you were able to put them back in touch with each other. That would be special.

  41. gdare says:

    San :lol:Linda, when he was telling me about him, he presumed that his best friend is probably dead by now. They were about the same age and my grandpa will be 81 this year. Not many people with 80+ are still alive. And he has never seen any of his family members except that relative who told him his best friend moved to Macedonia. The only thing that could be interesting is his unusual second name. I may start from there…

  42. L2D2 says:

    Keep us posted about what you find. My mom was 86 when she died. My sister Mary is 81 now. My sister Juanice died when she was 80. People seem to be living longer and longer now.

  43. gdare says:

    Ok, I will if I find anything :up:

  44. rose-marie says:

    Nice story there, Darko!You look like your grandfather. πŸ˜€

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